As part of Kinship Care Week, Kinship Campaigners met virtually for the first time today to talk about the issues they face as kinship carers, the key areas they want to campaign on, and what they might need to be able to do that.
Kinship Campaigners is a brand-new project in the North East that aims to develop a network of skilled North East Kinship Carer Campaigners ready to take action, raise awareness, and lobby for change within kinship care.
The North East is a region ready for urgent action and change. The area has the joint-highest level of kinship care in England and has seen the sharpest rise in child poverty since 2014/15, now with the second-highest rate of child poverty in the country. However, it is also an area with well-connected networks of support groups, strong relationships, and most importantly passion.
That passion shone through today with carers raising following the issues:
- Support being a postcode lottery
- A lack of transparency within local authorities on how they conduct assessments
- A lack of financial support
- Kinship carers not qualifying for free child care
- An overall need for more recognition, support and a commitment to improving kinship care
We know there is insufficient support and lack of awareness within kinship care, and today was just the beginning of unpicking these issues to start to provide a focus for this campaign.
“I don’t feel like local authorities know how to treat us as we don’t fit in any scenarios – we don’t fit with fostering and we don’t fit with adoption so it’s like sticking a plaster on and in the meantime we’re left in crisis.” – Kinship Campaigner
In the next few weeks, Kinship Campaigners will receive training to ensure they are confident, skilled, and knowledgeable on how to campaign. They will also be deciding what they would like to collectively campaign on.
Kinship Campaigners is for anyone who has experience of kinship care. You do not need any prior campaigning experience, just a passion for wanting to create change!